Terps Attend Virtual Tapia Conference and Grace Hopper Celebration

More than 100 CS students, faculty, staff and alumni attended these conferences, which promote diversity in computing.
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For CS students, attending conferences and networking events that promote diversity in computing—like the Grace Hopper Celebration and Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference—can be life-changing experiences. 

And while COVID-19 moved events like these online this fall, CS Terps were still able to surround themselves virtually with thousands of individuals who shared their passion for technology and computing.

This year, 200 undergraduate and graduate students from UMD—including 100 from computer science—attended the virtual Grace Hopper Celebration from September 29 to October 2. Seven faculty and staff members joined them for the Celebration, which is the world's largest gathering of women technologists.

During this year’s Celebration, 80 UMD students, alumni, faculty and staff members also held their own virtual networking event to meet one another and reflect on the conference.

“A core goal of sending students to conferences like Grace Hopper is community building,” said Kate Atchison, assistant director of the Maryland Center for Women in Computing and the Iribe Initiative for Inclusion and Diversity in Computing. “While it was harder in a virtual space, our students excelled at building these connections through our Slack channel and networking events. Students shined and represented the University of Maryland proudly.”

Earlier this fall, 20 computer science undergraduate and graduate students and five faculty and staff members attended the virtual Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference on September 16 to 18. The goal of the Tapia Conference is to bring together students, faculty, researchers and professionals in computing from all backgrounds and ethnicities to celebrate diversity.

A highlight of this year’s Tapia Conference included computer science graduate student Deeksha Dixit (Advisor: Pratap Tokekar) winning first place in the ACM Student Research Competition for her work on “Evaluation of Cross-View Matching to Improve Ground Vehicle Localization with Aerial Perception.”

UMD students receive funding and support to attend diversity conferences through the university’s Iribe Initiative for Inclusion and Diversity in Computing, with specific funding from the AnitaB organization as a  member of the BRAID program. Later this semester, students will attend the Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (oSTEM) Conference and AfroTech World.

The next opportunity for UMD CS students and alumni to connect will be at Technica, UMD’s student-run all-women and nonbinary hackathon that will be held on October 24 and 25. More than 1,200 students have registered to participate in this year’s virtual event. Alumni are welcome to sign up to be volunteers, mentors or sponsors. 

The Department welcomes comments, suggestions and corrections.  Send email to editor [-at-] cs [dot] umd [dot] edu.